It is with sadness that I am writing to announce that Ji, the ‘Hebden Bridge cat’ was run down and fatally injured last week on Monday, October 7.
A regular visitor to Crown Street and many other locations, our little cat was well known and cared for by many of the local shopkeepers and admired and fussed over by Hebden residents as well as many visitors to the town.
A small, very pretty and unusually friendly ginger tom, ‘Ji’ made the centre of Hebden, and in particular Crown Street, his very own place to be and despite our efforts after the many, many retrieval missions to get him from town, could not be persuaded away from it for very long. He even had his own chair and the friendly warmth and kindness of the staff in Boots and his own little ‘booth’ and equal kindness and hospitality (and a warm red towel to lie on) from the staff of the nearby lingerie shop.
Ji’s strategy was straightforward and plain-speaking, as befits a Yorkshire cat in Yorkshire, one might say. He walked right up to people, looked up at them and ‘meowed’ into their face. Generally this bold communication was interpreted as meaning ‘feed me’, ‘look after me’ ‘pet me’ and generally people responded in kind by offering him shelter, food or strokes.
Ji was a much loved feature of Crown Street and the local shops and after many months of trying to persuade him to spend less time there we became resigned to him being Hebden’s ‘wandering cat’.
At best all we could do was limit his time there, catch him and bring him back when we could and respond to calls from those who let us know his whereabouts.
One of his favourite spots in town was next to a sheep in the window of Boots. I was told by one of the staff that he would nudge the sheep up a bit if there wasn’t enough room on the grass he was standing on before lying down for a sleep in the sun. Sadly he will not now be returning to this or any other of his favourite spots in Crown Street or in Hebden, of which I feel sure I know only a few.
Our thanks go out to all those who offered him their friendly Yorkshire hospitality and cared for him as the ‘Hebden Bridge cat’ and especially to Bob the Greengrocer who found him and Kathy who took him to the vets after he was knocked down. He wove a thread of friendly and hospitable connections around town and is missed by us and I imagine many others. There is a Facebook page ‘Gi the roaming cat in Hebden’ (please noteb mispelling of name).
Do you remember seeing Ji the cat in Hebden Bridge? Send us your memories. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.